Budget dedicated DVD/CDP vs 0404 analog out? and general disgruntlement
Apr 6, 2006 at 6:48 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


1000+ Head-Fier
Oct 28, 2004
This is a long one... maybe different ppl can answer different parts for me cos I don't expet any one person to really know the answer to all this stuff!

First of all, why's the sky blue? jk.

Recently my E-Mu 0404 left hand analog out started outputting less signal than the RHS. I eliminated all parts of my signal chain, messed with PatchMix reset to defaults and reloaded etc, checked the media, tried different playback applications. The levels look good (similar/same) in PatchMix, just not the same actual output in volume. So I think I've confirmed it's the hardware. I'm going to get it repaired but it got me interested in trying out dedicated transports, in particular DVD players with a higher than normal quality analog output, for my Hornet amplifier. This would (if i pick the right one), also give me dvd playback/5.1 audio (movies & music), divx playback, and completely remove the PC from my sound chain. First I'll lay out my 0404 problems/gripes

Some things about the E-Mu 0404 while it was working (I still plan to use the digital out for games etc to my integrated amp):

1) With the analog outputs, using Foobar (not the new one) and lossless audio (APE), I found that too often, I would get clipping errors. I turned the volume of Foorbar's output down to -2 and still got it occasionally so I turned it down to -5 to be sure. But then the volume was too quiet overall. I was turning my Hornet up to about 8/10 volume for an average volume when I only have to turn it up to about 3-4/10 from my iRiver H140. So then I had to turn the overall output from 0 (default overal setting) to +3 to make it reasonable. I think this introduced a bit of distortion though

My iRiver's output volume is set to 3/4 of it's max and the Hornet can go much louder with my Senn HD650 than I need, so why on earth does the 0404 sound so quiet in comparison when set to it's loudest+safest output volume? Oh and using the digital out to my integrated amp, I had the amp set to about -20 for normal listening and it could go way louder than I needed. So why does the analog output of this soundcard struggle to match even a portable mp3 player in terms of volume, even when it's being pushed as far as it should??? (taking into consideration sound quality and not wanting to stuff the output from over driving it!)

I am changing (slowly) to FLAC so I can have lossless on the iRiver and will try that on the PC, cos I'm sick of the PC locking up for a second between loading APE songs (anyone else get this?)

Anyway does anyone know how the analog outputs of a DVD player like the Pioneer DV-588 or Toshiba SD-350 would compare to those of the 0404? Cos I could restrict the PC to simply party/game/lo-fi jukebox duties and use the CDP for "proper" listening (and also use it's digital out for my speakers as well)

I know they are a budget transport in the grand scheme of things. I listened to the Toshiba today and thought it sounded pretty good, but the 0404 analog out has been dead for 3 days now so I can't go home and make a direct comparison (d'oh!). I also listened to a Harmon Kardon which *possibly* (need more time with it to be sure) sounded a little bit nicer, but I'd like the other features of the Pioneer/Toshiba more than I would 1% increase in SQ (esp right now, tight budget!)
Apr 6, 2006 at 6:54 AM Post #2 of 2


Headphoneus Supremus
Jul 23, 2003
IME, analog outs of DVD players are subject to probably as much EMI as the insides of PCs, maybe even more. Mostly from the cheap power supplies used, as well as video circuitry. Unmodded, they may not be much better than an Emu 0404, and maybe even worse. However, I personally find more satisfaction these days in a standalone unit (even a good vintage PCDP amped via line-out) vs. PC-based playback.. it's all in what you're looking for.

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